Saturday, March 6, 2010
Saint Baldred (or Balfred)
The Bass, situated in the Firth of Forth, was later used as a prison for religious and political prisoners, especially by King James I in the 15th century. The fort used for this purpose was demolished in 1701. In 1706, Hew Dalrymple, brother of the Master of Stair, acquired The Bass, and it remains in the family today.
Bass Rock Lighthouse (photo by Don Carter) was built by David Stevenson, grandson of Robert Stevenson, who led Walter Scott on a voyage to the Northern Lights in 1814. David Stevenson engineered 26 lighthouses; three with his uncle Thomas Stevenson, and twenty-three with his brother Charles. Bass Rock lighthouse was completed in 1903, well after Scott's lifetime. The light figures in another Scottish author's novel, Robert Louis Stevenson's (cousin of David) "Catronia".
Scott makes a melancholy reference to Bass Rock in his journal, on the death of his "Lady Scott":
"May_ 16.(1826) --She died at nine in the morning, after being
very ill for two days,--easy at last.
I arrived here late last night. Anne is worn out, and has had hysterics,
which returned on my arrival. Her broken accents were like those of a
child, the language, as well as the tones, broken, but in the most
gentle voice of submission. "Poor mamma--never return again--'gone for
ever--a better place." Then, when she came to herself, she spoke with
sense, freedom, and strength of mind, till her weakness returned. It
would have been inexpressibly moving to me as a stranger--what was it
then to the father and the husband? For myself, I scarce know how I
feel, sometimes as firm as the Bass Rock, sometimes as weak as the wave
that breaks on it."